Private Project

The Road to Galena

The Road to Galena follows one man’s pursuit of personal fulfillment over traditional success. Cole Baird (Ben Winchell) has everything – a beautiful wife, successful career, large home and fancy toys. Behind the facade, however, is a man trapped by his surroundings and falling ever behind in the pursuit of his life’s dream. Not strong enough to confront his father’s expectations, he left his true love, his best friend and a fulfilling small-town life to embark on a legal career – intent, one day, to return.
Now the rising star in Washington social circles and the youngest managing partner in the history of a powerhouse D.C. law firm, Cole is given the choice to continue the path of success in a life to which he never aspired or to return to the community that nurtured him.

  • Joe Hall
  • Joe Hall
  • Eric Bannat
    Sollers Point, I Used to Be Darker
  • Marty Eli Schwartz
    The Leisure Seeker, Night at the Museum, The Pink Panther
  • Ben Winchell
    Key Cast
    "Cole Baird"
    Max Steel, Feed
  • Will Brittain
    Key Cast
    "Jack Miller"
    The Forever Purge, Let Him Go, Kong: Skull Island
  • Aimee Teegarden
    Key Cast
    "Elle Shepard"
    Rings, Friday Night Lights
  • Alisa Allapach
    Key Cast
    "Sarah Baird"
    The 15:17 to Paris
  • Jay O. Sanders
    Key Cast
    "John Baird"
    JFK, The Day After Tomorrow
  • Jill Hennessy
    Key Cast
    "Teresa Baird"
    Law and Order, Crossing Jordan
  • Jennifer Holliday
    Key Cast
    Dream Girls (on Broadway)
  • Margaret Colin
    Key Cast
    "Margaret Kenney"
    Independence Day
  • Robert Cinquegrana
    Executive Producers
  • Erich Schwartz
    Executive Producers
  • Andrew Woodin
  • Clark Vandergrift
    Director of Photography
  • Christopher Cibelli
    Panama, Congo, The Mentalist
  • Erik Boring
    Production Designer
    Jackie, Snowden, Jason Bourne, The Avengers
  • Sig De Miguel
  • Steve Vincent
  • Paco Periago
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 52 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 24, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Joe Hall

Award-winning filmmaker Joe Hall, (Best Director PEER Awards for The Toast and Here There and Everywhere as well as Matilda Mench, which also won a CINE Golden Eagle), has written and directed his first feature-length film with The Road to Galena.

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Director Statement

I thought long on how best to tell this story. The underdog, struggling against great odds to achieve his dream, has been told. Though satisfying, it presents the audience with the obvious, for who would not give up a life of hardship to reach for glory? But what if the hero had it all - position, influence, money - and was presented with the option to pursue his quiet aspirations of a simple life? Could he really give it up? What would it do to him inside - and how would he face the future knowing he’d passed on his one chance for true fulfillment?

I was driving my son, Patrick, to a Boy Scout camping trip on Maryland’s Assateague Island. It was March - cold, gray and raining - and I was struck by the natural beauty of the Eastern Shore, with flat farmland punctuated by the inlets and waterways of the Chesapeake Bay. On that drive, the story of Cole Bard coalesced in my mind, a man who felt called to the simple beauty of these small communities and away from the insincere glamour of Washington DC, my hometown. That night, against the cold, wet canvas of our tent, poorly staked on a windy beach, with wet sand stuck to nearly everything we had, I sat with a flashlight pinched between my chin and shoulder and scrawled the outline of The Road to Galena on a scrap of paper. Over breakfast the following morning, with Patrick peering at me over a stack of pancakes, I shared with him Cole's story - to which he replied, “sounds like your life.” When I told him I never wanted to be a farmer, he corrected, “Dad, the story's not about being a farmer.”

Despite the accusations of a highly insightful son, I see this as my story only in that it's universal - one shared by so many who carry with them dreams, often never spoken, and sometimes to the grave.

The era of COVID-19 has prompted many to reassess their lives with the acknowledgement that time is not unlimited. Thoreau once said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Cole Baird's journey shows us the possibilities that come with overcoming that desperation - sharing aloud our aspirations and taking that unthinkable step of living our own lives, instead of the lives of others - and defining success in terms measured only by our happiness and that of those we love.